Arts classes find new ways to showcase and perform, adapt to different learning conditions
As the school continues to follow social distancing guidelines, the Fine Arts department has been adapting and finding new ways to showcase their artwork in a safe and accessible way, but they still face challenges.
Visual arts classes have been equipped with plexiglass dividers to reduce exposure to the virus. However, teachers find that these dividers create a barrier.
“Not being able to do one-on-one, which is so important when you’re teaching any class, makes it really difficult,” new Studio Art teacher Juan Negroni said. “Coming back to the classroom represents a challenge in the sense that [the students] need to readjust to the new classroom dynamic. It’s a different culture all alone.”
Negroni and his students will showcase their art around campus, including small exhibitions in the Frank building, in order to give the community a taste of student’s work in class.
On the other hand, the performing arts, which usually need close contact and collaboration, have had to find new ways to practice and perform.
“It really hit the whole choir and singing community big time,” choir teacher Joe Snyder said. “It’s a tough road, but we’re doing our best… The students have been very cooperative.”
The choir classes sing outdoors with masks and face shields. Each student records its part at home, which will then be edited into one synchronized video of the whole choir ensemble.
“Since we are not allowed to sing inside, we have less practice time… so it is harder for us to mesh as a whole group,” senior Aidan Cox said. “I am still looking forward to our recorded performances. The editor always makes each of our parts blend really well together, and it sounds almost as good as if the performance was in person.”
The cast of this year’s play, “Clue,” will record an on-stage performance. Rehearsals occur with proper social distancing measures, so there is limited physical interaction between actors.
“I still wanted to give them as close to pre-COVID conditions as possible, which means actually having a set, actually having costumes [and] actually using props,” Director of Performances Lauren Redmond said. “It’s really hard to have these interactions, not only on the stage, but in the classroom as well.”
Sophomore Liam Pham is the youngest cast member in the show and was assigned to a lead role. Pham’s job consists of constantly moving around the stage and projecting his voice, even in a face mask and shield.
“I’m just glad to be [performing],” Pham said. “So far, the show has been an incredibly positive experience for me. As soon as we got the cast list, I knew we were going to be an extremely tight-knit group, and we really are.”
Even through the struggles they have faced, many Fine Arts faculty and participants are trying to stay optimistic by using new techniques to their advantage.
“What this has forced me to do is to become more creative and use more technology, which is great for dance,” dance teacher Glen Dawson said. “It takes us to a different level of ability.”
In May, sophomore Cren Boyd performed a quarantine-themed dance on Zoom. Now, Boyd attends Dawson’s dance classes at 7:30 a.m., five days out of the nine-day cycle.
“We get to find unique ways to dance without touching each other,” Boyd said. “Having dance in-person is much more special than when we had it online during remote learning.”
COVID-19 has made many rely on Fine Arts as a comfort to get through the toughest of times. The pandemic has made many realize the importance of the arts, and how it can transform the human spirit.
“Movies, music, books… all of these things are available at our fingertips, and I think [quarantine] proved the point that arts are vital to our everyday existence,” Redmond said. “For us, it’s extremely important that we keep the arts alive moving forward just considering how much everyone has turned to them.”